Known for its rich culture, bustling nightlife and grand architecture, Brighton is one of England’s favourite coastal cities. Whether you’re a lover of history, watersports or just a night out – this seaside spot is the place to be!
In the 18th century, Brighton began to gain popularity as a seaside resort, thanks in part to the patronage of the Prince Regent, who later became King George IV. The Prince Regent commissioned the construction of the Royal Pavilion, a lavish palace designed in an Indian and Chinese-inspired style that became a symbol of Brighton’s opulence and glamour.
Throughout the 19th century, Brighton continued to attract wealthy visitors, who came to enjoy the town’s seaside attractions and fashionable social scene. The town’s reputation as a fashionable destination was cemented by the opening of the Brighton Aquarium in 1872, which was one of the largest public aquariums in the world at the time.
During World War II, Brighton was heavily bombed by German air raids, resulting in significant damage to the town’s buildings and infrastructure. After the war, Brighton began to rebuild and reinvent itself as a modern, forward-thinking city. This was reflected in the construction of new buildings such as the Brighton Centre, a conference and exhibition centre that opened in 1977.
Today, Brighton is a vibrant and diverse city with a rich cultural heritage. Visitors can explore its historic buildings and museums, such as the Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, which showcases the city’s history and culture. They can also enjoy the city’s thriving arts and music scene, which is reflected in events such as the Brighton Festival and the Great Escape music festival.
Despite its modern transformation, Brighton’s history is still visible in its architecture, culture, and people. Whether you’re interested in exploring the city’s past or enjoying its vibrant present, there’s something for everyone in this fascinating seaside town.
Beyond the beach: exploring the best things to do in Brighton
- Visit the Royal Pavilion – a stunning palace built in the 19th century for the Prince Regent, who later became King George IV. The palace is a masterpiece of Indian and Chinese-inspired architecture and is a must-see attraction in Brighton.
- Stroll along the beachfront – Brighton’s famous pebble beach is a great place to relax and soak up the sun. You can also take a dip in the sea or rent a deckchair and watch the world go by.
- Explore the Lanes – a maze of narrow streets filled with boutique shops, independent cafes, and vintage stores. The Lanes are a great place to find unique gifts and souvenirs.
- Take a ride on the Brighton Wheel – a giant Ferris wheel that offers breathtaking views of the city and the coastline.
- Visit the Brighton Museum & Art Gallery – a museum that showcases Brighton’s rich history and culture, including a collection of artefacts from the Royal Pavilion.
- Enjoy the nightlife – Brighton has a buzzing nightlife scene, with plenty of bars, clubs, and live music venues to choose from. The city is also known for its LGBTQ+ friendly clubs and events.
- Take a walk in Preston Park – a large public park that features beautiful gardens, a pond, and a Victorian clock tower.
- Take a ride on the Volk’s Electric Railway: this historic railway is the oldest operating electric railway in the world. It runs along the seafront and offers stunning views of the coast. The quirky carriages are decorated with vintage advertising and the conductors wear traditional uniforms.
- Visit the Brighton Toy and Model Museum: this charming museum is home to a vast collection of antique toys and model trains. It’s located in an old Victorian railway arch and has a nostalgic atmosphere that will delight visitors of all ages.
- Visit the Brighton Pier – a classic Victorian pier that features amusement rides, carnival games, and plenty of food and drink options.
- Attend the Brighton Festival – a major arts and culture festival that takes place annually in May. The festival features a range of performances, exhibitions, and events, and is a great way to experience the city’s creative side.
Whether you’re interested in history, culture, or just having fun, there’s something for everyone in Brighton.
Discovering Brighton’s vibrant art scene: a guide to the best art galleries in the city
Brighton’s art scene is a vibrant and eclectic mix of contemporary and traditional styles, with a rich history of artistic innovation and experimentation. The city has long been a hub for creativity, attracting artists from all over the world to live and work in its diverse and dynamic community. From street art and performance to fine art and sculpture, Brighton offers a wealth of artistic experiences to explore.
- Brighton Museum & Art Gallery: located in the heart of Brighton, this museum and art gallery has a fantastic collection of art and artefacts, including works by local artists and international pieces.
- Fabrica: A contemporary art gallery located in a converted church, Fabrica showcases innovative and thought-provoking works by emerging and established artists.
- ONCA Gallery: ONCA Gallery is a space dedicated to showcasing art that explores environmental and social issues. Their exhibitions and events aim to raise awareness and encourage positive change.
- Phoenix Art Space: a creative hub and art gallery, Phoenix Art Space offers studio spaces for artists as well as a gallery that hosts a variety of exhibitions throughout the year.
- Brighton Photo Fringe: this biennial photography festival takes place across Brighton and Hove, showcasing a range of contemporary photography from local and international artists.
- Towner Art Gallery: while not technically in Brighton, Towner Art Gallery in nearby Eastbourne is well worth a visit. The gallery has a fantastic collection of modern and contemporary art, as well as a packed programme of exhibitions and events.
- Art5 Gallery: Art5 Gallery is a contemporary art gallery located in the North Laine area of Brighton. They showcase a range of styles and mediums, including painting, sculpture, and photography.
- The Regency Town House: while not strictly an art gallery, The Regency Town House often hosts exhibitions and events that showcase the history and culture of Brighton’s Regency period.
These are just a few of the many art galleries in Brighton. Exploring the city’s vibrant arts scene is a great way to spend a day or two, and you’re sure to discover something that inspires you.